The Virtue of Persistence In Prayer by Fr Eze Osita Alex
In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples how to be persistent in prayer and He also teaches us to do the same “for our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth Psalm 121”
We are presented with the parable of the persistent widow who has been mistreated day after day, this widow brings her case before a judge who neither fears God nor regarded man. The Judge at first was heart hearted to the windows requests but then he is compelled to reconsider the requests of the widow since she kept disturbing and making the judge uncomfortable. He then the judge said: “though I don’t fear God or care for man, this widow keeps bothering me. I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming and request”
Dear friends in Christ, we must understand the fact that persistence in prayer gets the attention of Heaven and that is why we are always encouraged to pray until something happens. I understand the fact that it is not easy to remain persistent in prayer because sometimes we pray and cry to God day and night without seeing the result of our prayers. We may have fasted severally and have paid our tithes and made other sacrifices and yet our prayers are not answered. I encourage you to persist and don’t give up for delay is not denial and your waiting for God is not in vain for very soon, God will vindicate you. God loves you and will never abandon you in your situations in life. All we need to do is to persist in prayers.
In our first reading, Moses demonstrates the act of persistence as he kept his hand raised up until he won the battle against the Amalekite. The victory over the Amalekite was the answer to fervent prayer. We also can be victorious in the same way as long as we raise our voices in prayer.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM TODAY’S MESSAGE
Christ injunction never to give up has more of a Psychological than religious foundation.
- AVOID SELF DEFEAT: Moses had this strong belief that with God He will conquer. He believed tenaciously on the one who sent him. Moses’ thought was how to defeat his enemies and not what if these people win. Many of us, before engaging in anything, have failed because instead of planning to succeed we are thinking of the obstacles. Do not think about the obstacles, think about success. Be positive in your thinking. Some factors can cause self-defeat: family background, environmental factor, association etc.
- DIVISION OF LABOUR: One of the major problems of the world today is the division of labour. Some clergymen want to be Politicians, be like Married men while the Married men have abandoned their Parental duty to embrace the clergy duty. It was the duty of Moses to pray and direct while Joshua and others have the duty to fight. What is your own duty? How far have you accomplished it? Someone will be criticising a Priest who is looking after thousands of people while his family of five have lost direction in life. Joshua and the Army fought the battle, Moses, Aaron and Hur did the praying. Where do you belong to, Joshua and his camp or Moses and his camp? Today people spend more time in the church than in their businesses, more time preaching than working, more time seeking for a miracle than seeking a solution.
- BE READY TO HELP: Any good help rendered has not only personal benefit but also community benefit. The assistance rendered by Aaron and Hur made Moses have his hands up till evening and till the Amalekites were totally defeated. Willfully refusing to help creates a social challenge. Imagine what could have been the faith of the Israelites in the war front if Aaron and Hur, were absent. Imaging also what Moses could have done. Help as much as possible and where possible, you might be saving a nation.
- BE READY TO OBEY: Obedience is the first law in heaven. The first and worst of all the sins is disobedience. Every sin committed has in its primary chamber disobedience. Joshua did as Moses told him. If he had disobeyed, maybe they would have been defeated. Learn to obey not for self joy but more for social order. Obedience brings orderliness, peace and unity.
- NEVER GIVE UP: Joshua and his men never gave up in fighting, Moses and his men were persistent in praying, raising their hands up till evening, even when they were tired but for the sake of their mission, they prayed unceasingly. The widow prayed and persisted for the sake of her mission. Some of us in search for livelihood, because of little challenges, lose hope and move from one kind of job to another because of lack of perseverance. Belief and perseverance go hand in hand.
Today, as we celebrate world mission Sunday, it is important that we remind ourselves that we are all called to be missionaries in one way or another and in doing this missionary work for Christ, it can be very challenging and demanding but when we pray always it will become successful and enriching.
May God bless you all for your constant support for the missionary work either through your giving or by your going into the mission field and may God help each of us to remember that we are all called to be missionaries in one way or another. Even in our families, we are missionaries and we must remain prayerful always in order to succeed in doing our work as missionaries.
God bless you all and Happy Mission Sunday.